Thermal Adds Adaptive Surfing
We believe surf trips should be for everyone. Here’s what we’re doing to help…
There’s something magical about catching waves. Maybe, addictive is a better word. Those seconds of gliding down a moving mound of ocean that feel so akin to flight. All the ingredients and weather and cyclones off New Zealand, the thousands of miles a wave travels to get to the exact place where the two of you intersect, and then as you slide those last few moments in that wave’s lifetime — together — to the shore.
Fine. Catching a wave is magic, and at Thermal we believe that more people should be able to experience that irreplaceable thrill — especially whilst traveling the world to do it. Thing is, surf travel, let alone catching a wave on your own, isn’t so easy for everyone. We’d like to see that change.
With that, Thermal is proud to launch a growing batch of surf trips curated specifically for adaptive surfers. The Guides and Hosts included have dedicated themselves to ensuring any and all surfers can feel the magic of riding a wave, and will make sure they cater to each and every specific need.
On these trips we offer guides, experiences, boats and lodges that have experience and expertise in serving adaptive surfers. From guides like Sean Brody (Head Coach of USA Surfing’s Para Surf Team who works with elite surfers with disabilities) to surf charter boats in the Mentawais like Crystal Clear Charters, our collective ethos is that surf trips are for everyone and we want to ensure there are more and more opportunities for adaptive surfers to get involved. You will continue to see us evolve with more and more guides and experiences for adaptive surfers.
Thermal is dedicated to growing in this space, and alongside our adaptive surf offering, we are also excited to launch a pilot Adaptive Surf Advisor program. To help guide us on our journey, we have enlisted the help of some key voices within the adaptive surfing world – Victoria Feige, Sean Brody and Barney Miller.
After a snowboarding accident left Victoria partially paralyzed, she returned to skiing and surfing. Victoria has trained hard to become a 3x ISA Adaptive Surfing Champion, ISA adaptive surf instructor, and a specialized physiotherapist, and we are so excited to have her on the Thermal team as an Adaptive Surf Advisor.
“Surfing is for everyone,” says Feige. “Thermal gets that. As a wheelchair user and a 3x World Adaptive Surfing Champion, I feel free and the most myself in the water. Surf travel is one of the best parts of surf culture and I want to help other individuals with or without disabilities experience the same freedom.”
As a Thermal Guide and Head Coach of USA Surfing’s Para Surf Team, Sean Brody also has a wealth of knowledge to bring to the table as we develop our programs in this space.
“It’s important to remember that adaptive surfers are just surfers, and they are as stoked and surf hungry as any surfers you know,” says Brody. “That said, they love to get out and off the beaten trail and adventure, and the more operators and service providers that can take into consideration any accessibility issues, transportation, or modifications for accommodating individuals with various abilities and unique needs — the better.”
Barney Miller is not only one of Australia’s adaptive surfing icons, but is also one of the most inspirational human beings we’ve come across in the world – and we couldn’t be more excited to have him on board.
“I am so excited about being part of this program,” Miller said. “Sometimes when we travel to exotic places with only our partner or carer there, we are unable to surf because it is impossible for us to get out there. Experienced people are able to, but what Thermal is doing will change the game and will allow people with mobility issues travelling to these places the opportunity to get out there & shred at multiple locations around the world!”
As of today, we are proud to offer a host of unique trips that cater to the adaptive surfer. From NEXO Surfhouse in Southern Spain to the Ride with the Wave project in the Azores Islands (Portugal) to Pacific Surf Co in BC, Canada, here’s who’s on board at the moment, partnered to launch our Waves For All trips:
“While it’s important to think about how an individual would access the surf — with a way and a plan in place so the surfers can get to the waves — I know so many surfers that won’t let any obstacles slow them down, so no destination is off the list,” continues Brody. “Sometimes, we just have to get more creative and put in the effort.”
As our network of partners offering adaptive surf trip options grows, we look forward to bringing the magic of surfing to more people around the world, from all different walks of life.